White House is set to name new FDA chief in coming weeks as the acting commissioner’s tenure comes to an end in November

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  • With Acting Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock’s term ending next month, the White House will soon have to tap a permanent chief
  • Dr Woodcock is among those being considered for the role, but has faced opposition from prominent senators
  • Dr. Laurie Glimmer is one of the favorites along with former Obama-era officials Dr. Joshua Scharfstein and Michelle McMurry-Heath
  • The new commissioner will be responsible for overseeing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and handling recent disputes related to the agency

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President Joe Biden will soon name a new head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a key role that will oversee the regulation of COVID vaccines and treatments.

The role is currently held by Acting Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock, who took office in January 2021.

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A full-time commissioner should be named soon, as Woodcock may not hold last November’s title, and the administration has narrowed the field to a few options, four people familiar with the matter told political.

Although the choice must be made soon, the recent resignation of Dr. Francis Collins from the National Institutes of Health makes the FDA’s decision a more urgent matter.

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‘They were ready to go anyway, but Collins’ announcement put them on edge. It seems to be a consensus, they think it is a very controversial option.’ A source told Politico.

The shortlist included Woodcock, Dr. Laurie Gleicher of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Joshua Scharfstein of Johns Hopkins University and Michelle McMurry-Heath of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

Dr. Laurie Glimmer (pictured) is among the favorites to be named FDA commissioner by President Joe Biden. She currently serves as the President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr Janet Woodcock (pictured) is the agency's acting commissioner, although her interim term is due to expire next month.  While he is being considered for a permanent role, he is facing opposition from some Democrats in the Senate.

Dr Janet Woodcock (pictured) is the agency’s acting commissioner, although her interim term is due to expire next month. While he is being considered for a permanent role, he is facing opposition from some Democrats in the Senate.

Woodcock was named acting commissioner at Biden’s inauguration, replacing Trump-appointed Dr. Stephen Hahn. who resigned On the beginning of a new administration.

He is among those being considered for the role, but some senators have vocally opposed his appointment to the role – senators would require him to confirm his appointment as Democrats are currently in the Senate.

Sans Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Joe Manchin of West Virginia all have Woodcock has been critical of.

Sen. Manchin in particular may prove to be a deterrent, as he has shown a willingness to break across party lines.

Senators from all states struggling because of America’s opioid epidemic lay some of the blame for the problem at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which Woodcock is leading.

Dr. Gleicher is the President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

POLITICO reports that its nomination may also face some hurdles as it has industry ties that require it to divest some of its holdings.

Dr. Sharfstein is an Obama-era FDA official who currently serves as vice dean for public health practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

He was reportedly a finalist for the agency’s commissioner under Obama when Biden was vice president, but was eventually named the agency’s principal deputy commissioner.

His candidacy to be commissioner was strongly opposed by some, and wall street journal In 2008 it was reported that an ‘Anyone but Scharfstein’ letter had circulated in some internal circles pushing against him being tapped for the position.

Dr. Joshua Scharfstein (pictured) was considered for the role of FDA commissioner under Obama in 2008, although he missed the role after facing some internal opposition.

Dr. Joshua Scharfstein (pictured) was considered for the role of FDA commissioner under Obama in 2008, although he missed the role after facing some internal opposition.

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath is another former Obama official being considered for the role.  She is currently the President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath is another former Obama official being considered for the role. She is currently the President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization

McMurry-Health is also an Obama-era FDA official, and she is currently the president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization – an advocacy group that represents more than 1,000 biotech firms in more than 30 countries.

wall street journal reports That Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Florence Hahn – another former Obama-era official – are both also being considered.

Whoever is tapped for the role will play a major role in ending the Covid pandemic and clearing some of the controversies the agency has been embroiled in lately.

Recently, the White House attempted to roll out COVID booster shots to all Americans starting September 20.

The FDA did not approve the rollout, however, and more than a dozen senior officials wrote a letter protesting the White House move — a rare move from the agency.

Woodcock also called for his own agency investigation into alleged inappropriate communication between his employees and representatives of the biotechnology company Biogen following the controversial approval of the company’s Alzheimer’s drug, EduHelm.

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